How Mollie Hughes’ solo trek to South Pole can help us all – leader comment

The world may seem like a smaller place, thanks to modern forms of transport and communication, but Antarctica is still as dangerous as it was in 1912 when Captain Robert Scott and company perished on their return from the South Pole.

Mollie Hughes trains for her planned solo journey to the South Pole (Picture: Mike Wilkinson/PA)

The hazards that will face Mollie Hughes as she bids to ski to the pole, alone and unsupported, across more than 700 miles of ice and snow should not be underestimated.

If she is successful, she will become the youngest woman ever to have made the journey solo.

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She has already climbed the north and south sides of Mount Everest, so she clearly has the sort of physical capabilities required to make it – something that so far only 23 people have managed to do.

There are those who think the ‘age of exploration’ is over and that such journeys no longer have the same value, but Hughes is demonstrating a spirit of endeavour that should inspire us all.

People sometimes talk about “my own personal Everest” of a physical challenge which could be as simple as a walk to the shops.

If Hughes is helping anyone attempt their “own personal journey to the South Pole”, she will have done something most worthwhile.